The upcoming December issue of Grainews will take a look at what’s new in tractors this year. There’s a lot to report. And just when we thought we could probably cram it all into one issue, along comes today’s announcement of another new model from Kubota.
The new Kubota M6S-111 tractor is being unveiled at the Red Deer farm show this week, and the brand intends to position it in the market as an “economy” model designed primarily to appeal to livestock producers, among others.
The tractor gets a 3.8 litre, four cylinder diesel rated at 114 horsepower. It’s Tier 4 Final-compliant, using EGR, SCR and a DPF to scrub exhaust emissions. A shuttle shift 32F/32R transmission routes that engine power to the wheels. If 32 speeds isn’t enough for you, a 48 gear creeper version is available too. The tractor also gets a “de-clutch” lever to electrically engage and disengage the clutch for shifting.
To maximize traction mechanical differential lock is available on both the front and rear axles.
The M6S is making its first Canadian appearance in Red Deer alongside Kubota’s other new machine, the BV4580 5′ X 6′ round baler. I had a chance to check out the baler when it made its North American debut at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in August.
The BV4580 round baler will help make the orange brand a much bigger player in the livestock equipment segment. That’s a niche Kubota has been targeting since it began adding haying equipment to its brand after acquiring Norwegian implement manufacturer Kverneland. Prior to the debut of the BV4580, the Kverneland-built balers Kubota added to its brand had only the narrower four-foot chambers.
Kubota purchased Kverneland in 2012. That acquisition gave Kubota an instant line of hay and tillage tools to paint orange and add to the brand. Realistically though, only Kverneland’s hay tools were anything close to a fit for mainstream North American agriculture, and up until now we’ve only seen implements with the smaller working widths and sizes that Kverneland produced to suit its original markets—like those smaller balers. But those implements are now being scaled up to better interest producers on this side of the Atlantic, especially those commercial-scale growers that make up the mainstream ag sector.
The BV4580 is a prime example of that.
Kubota tractors have found homes on many Western Canadian cattle operations over the years. Now the M6S, the BV4580 and the larger M7 tractors introduced two years ago are bound to not only solidify that appeal to livestock producers, they’ll no doubt increase it.
With Kubota’s purchase of tillage, seeding and planting equipment manufacturer Great Plains a few months ago, the brand is set to branch out beyond the livestock segment and get its equipment into grain grower’s fleets as well.
Executives at Kubota will plainly tell you, the brand expects to become a full-line ag equipment manufacturer at some point in the not-too-distant future. The introductions of these new machines and the purchase of Great Plains are just some of several steps the company will have to make to get there. But it’s clear from the actions it has already taken, it is moving toward becoming a major brand.
That leaves us machinery writers anxiously wondering, what’s the next Kubota announcement going to be?